It’s the most wonderful time of the year — especially when you’re spending it in Greater Fort Lauderdale. Trade your winter coat and snow boots for shorts and flip-flops this holiday season, and enjoy one-of-a-kind experiences you’ll only find here, like visiting a 20-foot-tall snowman on the sand and watching a holiday boat parade float by on the New River.
No matter what you’re celebrating this December, Greater Fort Lauderdale welcomes Everyone Under The Sun to take part in these holiday happenings.
Olas the Beach Snowman
Fort Lauderdale beach truly transforms during the holidays, with more than 50,000 lights strung along the promenade. And while Disney's “Frozen” may have Olaf, “Olas” is Fort Lauderdale’s favorite beach snowman, measuring in at 20 feet tall and aptly named for his location where Las Olas Boulevard meets A1A.
Lights & Libations
Holiday Magic at the Bonnet House
Santa, storytelling, and strolling carolers are sure to get you into the holiday spirit. You’ll find all of this and more at Bonnet House’s third annual Holiday Magic weekends. The historic house and gardens will be lit up during the Holiday Magic Soiree on Dec. 3; the Whimsical Wonderland family night on Dec. 4; and during Evening Experiences, including live music and libations, on Dec. 8, 9 and 10. Guests can even purchase the decorations — from trees, to wreaths, to centerpieces — to take home with them.
Holiday Pop-Up Bars
Have yourself a merry little time at one of these restaurants where over-the-top decorations and holiday themed beverages are guaranteed. Salt7 is known for going all out with lights, trees, and tons of tinsel, plus a menu full of festive drinks. The Wharf Fort Lauderdale’s Holiday Village is another destination for sipping seasonal cocktails while admiring hundreds of thousands of lights strung throughout the open-air venue. Don’t miss the live activations, including toy drives and visits from Santa, held through Dec. 25.
Las Olas Oceanside Park Holiday Market Bazaar
Gift givers can shop for everyone on their list at the Las Olas Oceanside Park Holiday Market Bazaar on Dec. 4, 11 and 18. Splurge on artisan goods and homemade jewelry pieces for loved ones, or pick up fresh produce from local farmers for your holiday party hosting needs. These small and local businesses will rotate weekly at The LOOP, where visitors can also find themed photo opportunities, live entertainment, and even visits with Santa.
Palm Trees and Pine Cones at Coral Springs Museum of Art
During the Coral Springs Museum of Art’s second annual Pine and Palm Holiday Market on Dec. 9 and 10, you’ll find a present for even the toughest person to shop for as you browse through original art and wares from local artists and makers. In addition to this two-day shopping event, the museum will host a juried Pine & Palm Exhibition through Dec. 31, plus hands-on workshops throughout the month.
Greater Pompano Beach Holiday Boat Parade
An appearance from Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus aboard one of 50-plus boats is bound to happen at the 60th annual Greater Pompano Beach Holiday Boat Parade. The show on Dec. 9 starts at Lake Santa Barbara and travels north under the Hillsboro Bridge, ending at Sullivan Park. Entry is free for boat owners, and there will be prizes for the best decorated vessels on the water. You can watch the boats go by from the shore at Alsdorf Park in Pompano Beach and Sullivan Park in Deerfield Beach. Or, the best way to experience the parade is with a waterfront reservation at the Sands Harbor Resort & Marina, Sunset Catch by Mario, or Two Georges at the Cove.
Winterfest Boat Parade
All eyes will be on the water this Dec. 10 as the 51th annual Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade takes over the New River with this year’s theme “Neon Nightlife Under The Sea.” Starting at the Stranahan House, pontoons to megayachts decked out to the nines will travel 12 miles north, ending up all the way up in Pompano Beach. At the bow of the grand marshal boat, bystanders will spot “Tell It to My Heart” singer Taylor Dayne, and former NSYNC members Joey Fatone and Chris Kirkpatrick.
Registration for boaters starts at just $35 while tickets to the official viewing area at the Las Olas Intracoastal Promenade Park cost $25. But, you can also catch a glimpse of the boats as they go by when you make a reservation at The Boathouse at the Riverside, Salt7, The Historic Downtowner, or anywhere else along the parade route.